The main steel-consuming sectors in Italy will recover in 2021, according to the head of Metinvest in Western Europe, Roberto Re.
Investment in aging infrastructure will be a top priority for Italian public spending in the coming years, driving steel consumption. Construction output in Italy bottomed in April with a quick recovery already starting in May.
The total need for Italian infrastructure for the next 20 years has been assessed at over €350 billion ($423 billion). €80 billion have been preliminary assigned to big infrastructure projects, such as the new Genoa bridge or new highway construction in the south. Such projects have high structural flat steel intensity compared to residential construction, Re said at the Kallanish Europe Steel Markets 2020 virtual conference this week.
Metinvest is providing plate to the Genoa bridge; the Jonica, a motorway between Apulia and Calabria; and the Mose project in Venice. These projects required more than 100,000 tonnes of steel, the majority of which was quarto plate.
Metinvest expects a return to normal activity also in other steel-consuming sectors, such as mechanical engineering and special machinery. This will be supported by future construction investment and infrastructure. Tube and pipe for general applications will also follow the improving trends of the construction sector, Re said.
Automotive production in Italy collapsed in 2020. The expected loss of output this year should be -25% compared to 2019. This trend however is seen reversing in 2021, supported by gradual economic recovery but also the transition to hybrid and electric cars in Italy and the wider EU.
Re also expects a recovery in the shipbuilding sector, supported by an extremely long order backlog accumulated before the crisis.